When the Sunbean was born in 2008, we ventured into the world of cloth diapering. A friend from a breastfeeding group introduced me to them, and I've been hooked ever since. They are easy, green, and save some serious dough. Here's what we've learned since then:
The diapers. We used to use prefolds and diaper covers. I would go on and on about how easy they were. Loved them. And they were easy, and I did love them. But then, we got a few bumGenius diapers. Holy moly, talk about a fabulous product! A friend of mine gave me 7 of her almost-new bumGenius One-Size 3.0 diapers and I fell in love. Seriously, so easy. We then ordered 7 bumGenius All-in-One diapers. I'd have to say that I like the All-In-Ones better, just because they are more trim, and my kids didn't have a ghetto booty like in other cloth diapers. But the One-Size are better for nighttime diapers.
Why do I love these diapers so much? Basically, they are a disposable diaper that you wash. They are so easy to put on and are very husband-friendly. My kids don't go to daycare, but I've heard most daycare facilities welcome All-In-One diapers. The ladies at the Child Watch at the Y don't seem to mind. Now, for the One-Size 3.0 diapers, you do need to remove the two inserts before washing. They are inside a pocket in the back of the diapers, and they come out easily. No big deal at all.
People always ask if it is worth spending the extra money on the bumGenius diapers, and all I can say is YES!! They make cloth diapering a breeze. They are a little more pricey ($12-$16 per diaper), but after you've made the initial investment, you won't be buying any more diapers for any more of your kids. From what I've read, they hold up well with multiple children.
If you do go with the covers and prefolds, I'd recommend chinese unbleached prefolds, and Thirsties, Bumkins, or Gen Y covers.
Washing. I breastfeed my kids exclusively (no cereal or baby food; just breastmilk) for the first 6 months. Those 6 months are the easiest to cloth-diaper. All you have to do is take the diaper off, and throw it in the diaper pail. So simple. Then just toss them in the wash.
After baby is eating cereal or baby food (or if baby is formula-fed), you will need to put the poo in the toilet. There are a few different ways to do that. Some solids will just fall right off the diaper. Other times you need to either dunk and swish the diaper (not that gross, I swear) or scrape it off with a flushable wipe.
When it is time to wash diapers, put them in a rinse cycle first. Then add soap and wash. Then follow up with one more rinse. Then toss them in the dryer! So simple. You can also hang them out on the line; sunlight will zap the stains right out.
Soap. I make my own soap, and it is really easy. I use it for all of our laundry, and it costs pennies per load. I'm not sure if you can do it for HE machines or not, but there are lots of good soaps to use for cloth diapers. Just don't use a regular detergent...your diapers will be ruined. Sad. I just Googled it, and here are the store-bought recommendations. We use All Free and Clear when I'm
Traveling. I got a "Wet Happened" bag from Target, and I love it. It is a waterproof bag that I put the dirty diapers in if I'm out and about. It works great. We usually use cloth diapers if we are traveling, but that's mostly because disposables make my children break out in an awful rash.
Diaper Rash. The Sunbean is the queen of sensitive skin. Yet another reason why I love cloth diapers. She never broke out in the cloth, especially in the bumGenius diapers. We used to use disposable at night or when traveling, but eventually we couldn't even do that because her skin couldn't handle it. We used to have to put diaper cream on at every change, but the switch to bumGenius totally fixed that. A miracle product, I tell you. Side note: the manufacturer recommends not using a diaper cream with the bumGenius diaper. Not sure why.
Newborns. Just use disposables. We used up our stash from gifts and baby showers, and then started with the cloth. Little babies poo a lot.
Hopefully this is helpful and let me know if you have any questions!